The Chicago Bears started the 2015 campaign with Kyle Long and Jermon Bushrod as the club's starting offensive tackles. This year, neither player will start on the edge, with Long back at guard and Bushrod in Miami.
Bears GM Ryan Pace invested substantial resources this off-season to improving the offensive line, which means this year's Week 1 starting front five will look nothing like the Week 1 unit last year. Yet were all the changes for the better, particularly on the edges?
With that in mind, let's break down each offensive tackle who will participate in Bears training camp later this month.
Bushrod dealt with a concussion and a shoulder injury early last season, which thrust Leno into the starting role at left tackle. Leno ran with the opportunity and retained the starting spot even after Bushrod returned to full health.
Leno started 13 contests in 2015, with mixed results. According to Pro Football Focus, his 32 QB hurries allowed were 15th most in the NFL amongst offensive tackles, while he also gave up 6 QB hits and 4 sacks.
Yet Leno never stood out as a liability in a J'Marcus-Webb way. In fact, he played very well against some of the league's best edge rushers. It was a lack of consistency that dogged him last season.
At the end of the day, the Bears saw enough out of Leno last season to forego the left tackle position in both free agency and the draft. Leno now enters camp as the bona fide starter for the first time in his short career.
"They believed in me so now I’ve got to repay them," Leno said during OTAs.
At 6-3, 302, he doesn't have elite size, yet his 34 3/8-inch arms are his strength. Those long arms, as well as a strong hand punch, give Leno the reach and power to create and keep separation from defenders.
If he develops his technique, particularly his footwork and balance, Leno should be more than serviceable protecting Jay Cutler's blindside this year.
As a run blocker, he lacks power at the point of attack but Leno has decent athleticism and was solid on the move last year, while showing good awareness at the second level. Zone-blocking sets fit him best.
Massie started for the Cardinals in three of his first four years in the NFL and signed a three-year, $18 million with the Bears this off-season.
He had an up-and-down year in 2015, which began on a two-game suspension after he was found passed out at the wheel of his car in the parking lot of Arizona's practice facility.
Massie struggled early in the campaign but found his groove late in the season. In the playoffs, he was better than solid.
At 6-6, 316, with 35-inch arms, he has ideal size and length for an offensive tackle. He's a solid run blocker who packs a punch off the snap, with good hips and flexibility.
Massie's weakness is in pass protection, where his footwork and balance are suspect. He gave up 39 QB hurries last season, which was worse than all but six other offensive tackles in the league, while also allowing 7 QB hits and 7 sacks.
Massie should have an immediate impact in the run game. Alongside Kyle Long, the Bears should be able to run very effectively off the right side, which is very important for Chicago's run-first offense.
The team hopes Massie can improve the rushing attack, while performing in pass protection as well as he did in the playoffs last year.
If playoffs Massie shows up this year, the Bears will be in good shape on the right edge, but if early-season Massie rears his ugly head, Cutler will be dealing with a steady stream of edge rushers in his face.
Becton was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech in 2013. He played for the Saints in 2014, where he clearly caught the eye of Ryan Pace, who invited him to training camp last season.
Becton didn't make the final 53-man roster but was signed in Week 5 after Bushrod's injury. He was active in four of the next five contests but was a healthy scratch the next six weeks. He was again active for the season finale but did not play a single snap on offense all year.
At 6-6, 323, Becton has some potential as a road grader on the right edge but, based on what I saw from him during camp last year, he doesn't have the agility to play on the left edge. His 35 1/2-inch arms are ideal and he does have decent athleticism, which is why Becton will firmly be in the mix for the primary swing tackle role in camp.
The Bears believe Becton can play left tackle and had him working there with the second team during OTAs and minicamp.
Chandler joined the league as un undrafted defensive end in 2012. He played for the Panthers the last three seasons, converting to an offensive lineman in 2013, first at guard and then at tackle.
"My first year in Carolina I played D-end," Chandler said. "And then it was funny, because I was actually on the scout team and they saw me moving out there as an offensive lineman. The next year, the next offseason, they asked me to move over and I made the team, and went from there."
He played so well his first year as a blocker that the Panthers signed him to a three-year extension before 2014. He started 11 games at right tackle that season before a knee injury landed him on IR. The knee injury carried over to 2015, when he was placed on IR before the start of the season.
After ending two straight seasons on IR, the Panthers waived Chandler in a cost-cutting move. The Bears signed Chandler during OTAs and he'll immediately challenge Becton at swing tackle. Chandler worked at right tackle with the second team this off-season.
Weaver, a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Souther Miss, has spent time with the Buccaneers, Bengals, Dolphins, Saints and Bears, but has never appeared in an NFL contest.
Weaver (6-5, 309, 34-inch arms) played right tackle with the second team during OTAs, then moved to second-team right guard after Chandler was signed. Weaver will be battling for a spot on the practice squad.
Bellard was a three-year starter at left tackle for Texas State. In 2015, he did not give up a single sack.
The 6-5, 344-pound behemoth was not drafted and signed with the Bears shortly following the 2016 NFL Draft. Bellard worked at left tackle with the third team during OTAs and minicamp. He'll compete for a spot on the practice squad.
Kling started two-plus years at left tackle for Buffalo. He's 6-7, 313 pounds and worked at right tackle with the third team during off-season activities, where he struggled.
Kling will also compete for a practice-squad spot.null